The relationship between management and unions can be adversarial, but leaders of UMass Memorial Health Care and its unionized staff are out to prove that working together can actually improve efficiency, job satisfaction and patient and employee safety.
As part of its commitment to process improvement, the 1,000-plus-bed safety-net hospital system launched a new approach to improving safety and efficiency. UMass Memorial uses unit-based teams, partnering with members of SHARE, the AFSCME-affiliated union that represents workers across 160 job titles. Approximately 3,000 SHARE members at UMass Memorial include respiratory therapists, radiologic technologists, nursing assistants and administrative workers.
This approach, pioneered by Kaiser Permanente in 2005, brings together labor and management co-leads to identify and implement solutions to patient and employee safety issues.